The Saints opened their offseason conditioning program today without their head coach and franchise quarterback. In a breath of good news, the team re-signed veteran special teamer Courtney Roby, one of the better punt team gunners in team history.
Technically a wide receiver, Roby has recorded a reception since 2009 and return a single kick in the regular season last year, collecting eight special teams tackles. He ceded the return job to his cousin, Saints RB Darren Sproles.
In the Saints' playoff loss in San Francisco in January, injuries forced Roby back on the kick return team. The second of three kick return attempts was muffed, recovered and then fumbled by Roby, allowing the 49ers to kick a field goal and go up 17-0 in the second quarter.
Roby won the September 2010 NFC Special Teams Player of the Month award for his excellent punt return coverage, including a key fumble recovery on a muffed return in San Francisco.
In Super Bowl XLIV, Roby showed exactly why he is a valuable gunner on punt coverage teams. Roby was on the spot to stop Colts PR TJ Rushing for no gain on the Saints' first punt. A few minutes later, Roby downed a Thomas Morstead punt at the Colt 4 yard line.
Roby confirmed the news on twitter today, "Yes I have officially re-signed with the New Orleans Saints..feels good to be back!!"
The Saints cut LB Jerimiha Hunter, who was placed on injured reserve last August when he tore his Achilles tendon during training camp. Hunter was an undrafted rookie signee of the Saints in 2011.